In this episode, Xinyan Peng interviews Kimberly Chong about her book Best Practice: Management Consulting and the Ethics of Financialization in China. Dr. Chong speaks about how management consulting emerges as a crucial site for considering how corporate organization, employee performance, business ethics, and labor have been transformed under financialization. Effective management consultants, Dr. Chong finds, incorporate local workplace norms and assert their expertise in the particular terms of local culture and society, while at the same time framing their work in terms of global “best practices.” Providing insight into how global management consultancies refashion Chinese state-owned enterprises in the reform era, Dr. Chong explains both the dynamic, fragmented character of financialization, and how ‘global’ management consultants perform their expertise in the particular terms of China’s national project of modernization.

Bogdanich, Walt, and Michael Forsythe. (2022). When McKinsey comes to town: The hidden influence of the world’s most powerful consulting firm. Doubleday.

Boyer, Dominic, and George E. Marcus. (2021). Collaborative anthropology today: A Collection of Exceptions. Cornell University Press.

McDonald, D. (2014). The firm: The story of McKinsey and its secret influence on American business. Simon & Schuster.

Ortner, S. B. (2016). “Dark anthropology and its others: Theory since the eighties.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 6(1), 47-73.

Host: Xinyan Peng
Guest: Dr. Kimberly Chong
Research Assistant: Wenzhao Chen
Audio Editor: Seyma Kabaoglu

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Mergers & Acquisitions
Mergers & Acquisitions
Society for Economic Anthropology (SEA)

SEA’s podcast, Mergers and Acquisitions demonstrates how anthropological and other perspectives can enhance and complicate understandings of economic life and contemporary events. Mergers and Acquisitions hosts interviews with leading economic anthropologists, provides reflection pieces on economic transformations and problems, and serves as a vehicle for new and established scholars to connect with each other. Recognizing that the best ideas and insights are rarely generated alone, Mergers and Acquisitions offers a collective mind-hive for furthering the study of economic life.